I just got this email a few days ago from Guide Dogs for the Blind about some new regulations to do with flying with your guide dog, whenever flying is a safe thing to consider doing again. It sounds like they’ve done most of this the right way. It could use a couple of tweaks, but they could have done a lot worse, and emotional support animals are being given the designation of pets that they deserve.
We are reaching out today to share important information on Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulation updates that will take effect on January 11th, 2021. These updates will directly impact the steps necessary to fly with your guide dog.
Changes being implemented on the 11th include the following:
- The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has aligned their definition of “Service Animal” with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), limiting the designation to dogs only. There are no breed restrictions.
- Emotional Support Animals will no longer be considered Service Animals by the ACAA and will need to travel as pets during flights. Psychiatric Services Animals will continue to be recognized as legitimate service animals.
If you would like to read the final rule amending travelling by air with a service animal in its entirety, please access the document on the Department of Transportation website.
As part of the new regulations, the U.S. Department of Transportation has developed two forms travelers with service animals must submit when flying (Please be aware that these forms do NOT need to be completed or signed by a Veterinarian):
- A Combined Attestation form of dog behavior and dog health for all flights.
- A Dog Relief form for flights lasting longer than 8 hours.
In addition to a signed declaration of responsibility for your dog, the forms require 2 critical pieces of information:
- Your current Veterinarian’s name.
- The expiration date of your dog’s Rabies vaccine.
The only pain in the ass part is that you have to complete these forms, but they don’t have to be signed by a vet, you don’t end up with more limited check-in options because you have a guide dog and you can either submit it in advance or bring it with you. Hopefully things can be streamlined along the way, but this is a good start. But if you have a guide dog, next time you fly, remember this form or you could be in a heap of trouble.